My two girls have always been picky eaters. I think most mothers know the sheer frustration that comes with spending an hour or so cooking a meal, to have your child turn their nose up at it before they’ve even tried it.
My girls were both baby led weaned. I was promised that this would stop them from being picky eaters when they grew up. Not so, at all. When they were babies, they would eat anything I put in front of them. Leyla’s favourite was chicken and courgette. Now they are her two most hated foods. She will not even. To be fair to her, she is a bit trickier now as she has decided she is vegetarian. She loves animals and she gets upset at the thought of them being killed for us to eat. I can understand that and I do let that one slide, because she is old enough to make her own decision on that one.
A few years ago, I had big problems with Leyla, she always left half of her meal and was hungry again an hour later. Nowadays, if I add some type of dried beans or other protein in with the meal, then dish it out so she gets beans and no meat, she will generally eat it. Other than meat, she eats most of what I give her now, so no real issues there. She eats a wide range of vegetables, beans, eggs, rice, potatoes and cheese. Occasionally she will leave something she is really just not keen on, but I think that’s pretty normal. Nobody likes everything.
Naomie on the other hand, she is a different story altogether. She is not a vegetarian. She loves meat, she loves vegetables, she loves pasta, she loves potatoes, until I put them into a meal and then they are all the worst. I can’t actually remember the last time Naomie finished a full meal. There is always something wrong with it, some reason why she can’t eat it all and why she should be allowed to leave it and just have her pudding instead. Or she is extremely full and only has space for her pudding (nice try, kid). Even if she likes the ingredients separately, she suddenly hates them when they are put into a meal. I have never been the type to make different meals for everyone. If I am making a meal then that is the meal and if you don’t eat it, there is nothing else. My mam was like that too so I obviously picked it up from her.
I am now on a mission to convince Naomie to eat what I put in front of her. I have a few guidelines that I am making myself stick to.
- I will no longer be offering her snacks after school or between meals
- She will get no pudding unless her whole meal has been eaten
- There will be no TV or other distractions on at meal times
- All meals are to be eaten up to the table as a family
- Even if she is flat out refusing to finish something, at least three “thank you” bites have to be eaten, so she has at least tried it
- If she refuses to at least try her food, she will be sent upstairs to bed
This may seem pretty strict to some, but I really think it may work for us. I think a lot of Naomie’s refusal to eat is plain stubbornness and just wanting sweets instead of dinner. If sweets are no longer an option until after dinner, then I am hoping that this will make her meal more appealing. Obviously there will be some things that she tries and just doesn’t like and that will be different. As I said before, nobody likes everything and that is ok.
Have you had a picky eater? Any tips or advice would be amazing🙂